Category Archives for Inspiration

Tips For Dealing With Writer’s Block

You’re flying along churning out page after page of your novel, when suddenly you find yourself stuck like lint to a lint brush. No matter how much you try, you can’t shake yourself loose. You can’t get a decent thought on the page for anything. Eventually you give up trying. You’re frustrated, puzzled, worried. What the heck is going on here?

Some call it writer’s block. Others believe there is no such thing. I won’t argue about terminology or definitions. I will say this: wherever you fall on the writer’s block belief spectrum, if you write long and hard enough you will eventually hit a slump. It may be a long one or a short one. But when it happens, the worst thing you can possibly do is hope it will soon go away on its own. No, my dear writer. The longer you let a writing slump linger, the harder it is to break free.

So get proactive. Below are 5 tips you can try to kick that pain in the ass. But here’s the thing. They won’t work unless you actually try them.

  1. Instead of a power nap, take a creative nap. How does that work? Before you drift off to sleep think about the part of your writing where you got stuck. Your mind will get to work while you’re sleeping and solve the problem for you. If a nap won’t do the trick, try this at night before drifting off. Yes, it really can work.
  2. Read nonfiction books about writing. They can be inspirational books or books on writing techniques. This often gets the writing wheels churning again, and you find yourself itching to get back to work. I use this method all the time.
  3. Try mind-mapping. In the center of a blank page write a a few words describing the scene or character you’re stuck on and draw a circle around it. Then let your mind wander, adding whatever comes up, with branches and more circles. This allows you to think freely without the confines or structure of thinking in sentences and paragraphs or trying to follow your outline. There are lots of websites and books on mind-mapping as well as software and apps to use if you prefer to work electronically.
  4. If you need a more long-term fix, learn something new. This will really shake things up and get your brain out of a deep rut. Some ideas: dancing lessons, yoga and meditation.
  5. And if the slump gets really serious, here are a couple of hugely successful books to help you cope: The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level, by Gay Hendricks, and The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, by Steven Pressfield.

You can find several more tips like these in my free writing guide 10 Tips to Inspire the Fiction Writer Within by CLICKING HERE.

Private Places to Write Your Novel

Where do you write? I get asked this question a lot. It used to puzzle the heck out of me since it was something I never gave much thought to when I wrote my first few novels. I lived alone and had an office in my house. I simply sat down at my desk and wrote. What was the big deal about finding a place to write? I wondered.

Fast forward a few books and several years. I was married with young kids. Suddenly the question—Where do you write?—didn’t seem so trivial. Finding a place to write in private with no interruptions for even a few hours at a time could be a real challenge.  I knew I had to make some changes.

I am now far more proactive–often even uncompromising–about protecting and preserving my time and space to write. I go in my office, shut the door, and hang a hot pink DO NOT DISTURB sign. When the children were younger I would tell them to knock only if their lives were in danger.

Privacy is everything when you’re writing regardless of where you are in your career. In his book On Writing, Stephen King says that he wrote his first novels on the porch of a rented house and in the laundry room of a trailer where he and his wife lived.

Some established authors rent office space outside their homes. They say it’s the only way to ensure solitude for any real length of time. It also forces them to be more disciplined about their writing schedules if they have to get up and go to an office. Some writers go as far as to get hotel rooms to get away from it all. I once rented an apartment across town for six months.

There are no rules here, no magic formulas. Get creative. Do whatever you have to in order to get the job done. And don’t feel guilty about it.

More writing tips like these can be found in my writing guide 10 Tips to Inspire Fiction Writers. To download it CLICK HERE.